North Wales Coast Railway Notice Board 17 October 2023


Rheilffordd arfordir gogledd Cymru: Hysbysfwrdd

17 October 2023

Contributions to the Notice Board are welcome, although they may not always be used, due to time constraints, especially if they don't follow the advice and file name convention given on the  Contributions Page.

Forthcoming events

Charter trains, and meetings, may be subject to cancellation or postponement. See our Calendar Page for Club and Society details.

November 2023

Friday 3 November Clwyd Railway Circle The Railway in Conway.  Larry Davies

Friday 10 November. Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Paul Shackcloth "People and Places 2". Images of the steam railway with at least one person visible.

Saturday 25 November Railway Touring Company 'The Christmas Cheshireman' steam hauled Bristol - Chester and return

December 2023

Friday 1 December Clwyd Railway Circle Members Night Presentations.  Members are invited to give a 15-minute presentation of their choice.

Saturday 9 December Pathfinder Tours 'The Chester Christmas Cromptons.'  WCRC Class 33 locos Eastleigh - Chester & return

January 2024

Friday 12 January. Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Simon Temple on "South Asian Steam in 1982" - features India, Pakistan and Nepal.

February 2024

Friday 9 February.  Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society  John Hooley. "Euston and Destinations: the Potteries
and the North West". Steam in action on passengers and freight.

March 2024

Friday 1 March (note the first Friday of the month). Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society Dennis Flood. "Edge Hill Motive Power Depot". Dennis will entertain us with tales from his career on the footplate in the 1960s.

April 2014

Friday 12 April. Altrincham Electric Railway Preservation Society David Beilby. "Transport around the World by GEC and its predecessors". A joint meeting with the Irish Railway Record Society Manchester branch.

(see  our Calendar page for meeting venues)

North Wales Coast Railway website created and compiled by Charlie Hulme

1A50 12:49 Holyhead to London Euston, worked by 221 115 and 221 102 passes Gwrych Castle on 5 October. Picture by Greg Mape.

Don't miss last week's extra issue - Charlie

Correction: The recent railtour that was unable to go to the Conwy Valley due to floods was given permission from Network Rail to go to Holyhead, rather than stay at Llandudno Junction.

Stop press: we understand that the Class 175 sets are 'off-lease' after Friday 20 October.

A visit to Chester - with Ell Jones

A few weeks back when the Pacer came to Chester I took the opportunity to snap a shot of the yard, showcasing a variety of units which given a year or two won’t be possible to see, with the 175s slowly coming off lease and the 197s taking over.  Also present was 950 001, Network Rail's track assessment unit. The 175 (175 010) has since moved, I believe to Ilford, for storage/repair (I’m inclined to believe the former)

Also saw both old and new Merseyrail units in the form of 508 131 ...

... and 777 010. Having gone to Bache and back as a test on the 777, they are good units and a worthy replacement to the BR 507/508 fleets which will always have a certain charm to them.

Also looks to be some work going on with the roof, is it being overhauled > as part of the upgrade works?

Chester station, 1956

While cataloguing prints in the Manchester Locomotive Society collection,  the above picture caught my attention.  Taken by an unknown photograph in 1956, showing what is now Platform 3. Business is brisk at the 'Railbar' ; some of the crowd have been persuaded to stand back for the passing if what seems to be a refreshment trolley. In the bay platform what looks like a 2-6-4T has arrived with  a train from Birkenhead.

Logging the Aberystwyth Logs - by Graham Breakwell

Traction news is that on 13 October 37 405, towed by 56 105 was taken from Coleham to Barrow Hill for attention which later returned to Coleham after collecting 37 607, another Harry Needle loco, from Derby.

The latest Chirk - Aberystwyth service came up with some interesting movements, starting on 13 October when the empty stock arrived from Chirk at 02:37 at Coton Hill sidings, continuing to Aberystwyth the next morning at 02:50.  The loaded train ran on 16 October as 6C55, the 09:47 from Aberystwyth, with a scheduled 52-minute stop in Shrewsbury station.

Above, 97 302 and newcomer 37 607 bring the log train off the Cambrian line.

The service changed locos at Sutton Bridge Junction / Coleham,  after which the leg to Chirk was cancelled and replaced with a short trip to Coton Hill at 13:50. That was then cancelled and after some shunting to clear the Coleham depot’s longest siding and the depot entrance/exit the train was stabled in the depot until finally moving on to Coton Hill at 23:17.

Passing the Sutton Hill signal box before coming to a halt, reversing into the headshunt and moving into Coleham depot.

56 105 moves out to take over the train. 

Llangollen, 15 October - by Ken Robinson

This weekend saw the last diesel-hauled services on the Llangollen Railway for 2023 (with the exception of Santa trains). Attached are a few photos from Sunday, 15 October, which was blessed with sunny weather. Above, Class 47 1566 seen between Carrog and Corwen with the 10:30 from Llangollen.

1566 at Corwen ready to work the 11:50 back to Llangollen, with the observation saloon behind the loco.

Glyndyfrdwy sees 1566 waiting just long enough for me to hop off to take a photo!

Barmouth Bridge progress - report by Chris Scott

Barmouth bridge on the morning of 4 October. As you will see the original arched portions of the bridge have been cut up into sections, lowered to waiting barges and removed. The new sections are in position but have still to be lowered into position.

A road/rail type of JCB in front of the new sections of the bridge. I am guessing that the white clamp-like objects that can be seen are the means by which the old sections are lowered on to the waiting barges.

Later in the day shows the road/rail unit has moved into the town, I suspect to pick up essential supplies - fish and chips?

The area where the barges carrying the redundant portions of the old metal arches are brought on barges, moored to the scaffolding piers and then removed by the large plant on site. These portions are then removed to the compound at the north end of Barmouth promenade, where a convoy of scrap recovery wagons were waiting.

Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland scenes

WHR Garratt 87 on the moors near Beddgelert...

... and in Beddgelert station.

Pictures by Greg Mape, 14 October.

On display at Porthmadog on 7 October at the 'Bygones Weekend, the Ffestiniog's new-build loco, to be named James Spooner

The loco was in light steam shunting back and to at Harbour Station. It re-uses the bogies from retired Earl of Merioneth.

Later in the day we witnessed David Lloyd George making a spirited departure from the station.

Headbolt Lane station opens - report by George Jones

The Merseyrail extension beyond Kirkby finally opened on Thursday 5 October with an initial hourly service from Liverpool Central using the sub class of battery powered 777/1s for the non-electrified section to new station serving the Tower Hill area of Kirkby. I went along on Tuesday 10 October connecting with the 13:05 service from Central with 777 148  (above).

On arrival at Kirkby for 13:22 the third rail shoes were retracted and the unit went forward on battery power. Beyond Kirkby the new track extension splits into two lines which will eventually accommodate a 15 min frequency and after 0.8 miles terminated in platform 1 at Headbolt Lane station for 13:27.

Looking forward on leaving the train the new terminal facilities are apparent with the substantial station building, including ticket office, and flat access to platform 2, beyond which is platform 3 for the separated Northern Trains line to Wigan and Blackburn routed via Manchester Victoria. There is a substantial fence which blocks off a view of the split platforms!

Platform 3 looking  towards Rainford with the old line still visible behind the fencing pending any future extension perhaps.

and the exit off the Northern platform. The black panel is to prevent train drivers being dazzled by trains in the other direction.

The timetabled connection between a Northern arrival at 13:39 and a Merseyrail departure at 13:39 was very tight and only for the fleet of foot! But as the Northern ran two minutes mins late according Rail Time Trains I doubt a connection was made on the day. It will be better when the 15-minute Merseyrail service operates.

The visit allowed for a 12-minute quick examination of the new station, all built to modern standards of course and an example of what one gets with a price tag of £80m including the new track, signalling and new rail over road bridge on the extension. As of now the extensive car park is incomplete and contractors are still at work. The station name may be meaningless to non-local travellers and to help awareness the destination is being displayed as Headbolt Lane for Kirkby on screens on and off the trains.

Platform 2 provides the alternative Merseyrail termination and Ian Henderson sampled it on Thursday 12 October when he rode the enhanced half-hourly service from Liverpool at 09:35 again with 777 146.

From Dave Sallery's Archive

20 903 and 20 904 on the weedkilling train at Llandudno Junction in September 1991.

37 680 and 37 685 pass Kinmel Bay on the empty hoppers from Salford Hope Street to Penmaenmawr, 12 June 1987.

40 015 on the Dee Marsh to Arpley Speedlink service; the wagon behind the loco a scrap-metal carrier.  This would be in the period before Dee Marsh to Mickle Trafford reopened, 14 July 1984

A westbound HST leaving Prestatyn in March 1992.

Looking back: HSTs Part 2 - by David Pool

The preserved HST prototype power car 41 001 was illustrated in the Notove Board last week.  The second power car 41 002 was also exhibited at Shildon on 29 May 1975, the two cars being numbered 252 001.  Power car 41 002 caried the coaching stock number W43001, having been running on the Western Region.  Locomotion No.1 is the replica, which had been running at Beamish, and is seen to be in steam.   The original Locomotion No.1 is exceedingly fragile, and is now kept indoors. 

The Leamside branch in County Durham is a candidate for reopening to ease the capacity problems on the East Coast main line through Durham.  In the 80s it was often used as a diversionary route, and on 16 March 1989 the Intercity 1100 Kings Cross to Edinburgh was passing through Fencehouses, headed by power car 43 066.  Unfortunately the practice of displaying the numbers on the front of HST power cars was later discontinued, and it became particularly difficult to identify a particular vehicle when the numbers were made as unobtrusive as possible somewhere on the side of the car. 

The Midland Mainline HSTs certainly had an attractive livery, and the numbers were sufficiently large to be relatively easily read.  43 064 and 43 083 were the power cars on the 11:24 Sheffield to St. Pancras as it approached Clay Cross South Junction on 17 March 1999. 

Little Bedwyn (near Hungerford) is the classic location for my shot of a Great Western HST in the “Merlin” livery.  The 11:35 Paddington to Plymouth on 3 May 1999 had 43 133 on the rear, but I was unsure of the number of the leading power car.  Does anyone have records of the HST sets working from Paddington at this time? 

The numbers on the GNER power cars were especially difficult to read, being thin gold figures on the red stripe.  The 1455 Aberdeen to Kings Cross on 31 May 1999 was photographed coming off the Tay Bridge at Wormit.  The rear power car was 43 116, but again I was not able to get the number of the leading power car as it passed me. 

By 2004 most of the Privatisation liveries had been changed, not always for the better, as illustrated by the latest Midland Mainline livery carried by 43 062 and 43 013 on 24 May, passing through Chinley with the 12:47 Manchester Piccadilly to St. Pancras during the “Project Rio” diversions.  I assume the rather strange livery on the power cars was deliberately made to contrast with the coaching stock to discourage passengers from trying to use the rear doors on the power cars!

There seems to be some confusion with the nicknames being used for some of the HST power cars in use today, since I have seen the preserved 43 002 in the retro blue/yellow livery described as the “Yellow Banana”.  As far as I know, the “Banana” description originated on HSTs with the “Flying Banana”, which referred to the  New Measurement Train of Network Rail, introduced in 2003.   The NMT has been gradually upgraded since then, with Paxman Valenta engines in the power cars being replaced by MTU engines, and more recently the coaches having new logos and lettering with the “Improving Your Railway” theme.  The NMT was passing through Mold Junction on 16 May 2013, headed by 43 062 John Armitt with 43 013 Mark Carne on the rear.

Previously in Virgin Trains East Coast livery, the LNER branding on the East Coast HSTs was short lived, as they were soon replaced by the fleet of Azumas.  The 12:00 Kings Cross to Inverness on 12 June 2019 was headed by 43 295, with 43 296 on the rear.  Although the nearby Werrington Junction has been remodelled recently, the footbridge at Marholm still provides good views of trains on all five tracks. 

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